UT Libraries Focuses on Civil Rights in East Tennessee

UT Documentaries in the Library to present film about the Clinton 12

The UT Libraries will show the film Clinton and the Law: Desegregation in Clinton, TN with remarks from a Clinton High School student who lived through the experience as part of their Documentaries in the Libraries series. The event will be held on April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of Hodges Library and is free and open to the public.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education ended legal segregation in public schools. In January 1956, Federal District Court Judge Robert Taylor was forced to overturn his own earlier ruling and mandated Clinton High School to desegregate by the fall semester of 1956.

On August 27, 1956, Clinton High School became the first public, all-white high school in the Southeast to enroll black students. In all, twelve black children enrolled in the high school that year, in the face of protests, violence and media scrutiny.

Alfred Williams, one of the “Clinton 12,” will join in the discussion session after the film. Robert Willis, one of the last Clinton residents bussed to Austin-East High School in Knoxville and Alan Jones, pastor of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Clinton and an accomplished artist, will also participate. The evening’s discussion will be led by Susan Williams (no relation) from the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, TN.

The film Clinton and the Law was produced by legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow as part of his See It Now series on CBS. Selections from You Got To Move, a documentary about working toward union, civil, environmental and women’s rights in the South, will also be shown.

UT Libraries’ Documentaries in the Library series is exploring aspects of Appalachia through film and video during the spring 2007 semester. More information about the series can be found at www.lib.utk.edu/mediacenter/docs/.

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